Clemson Football: DLU
BY: Grayson Mann
College football fans across the country continue to debate on which schools are worthy of being coined as “THE” program that is known for certain positions. You will often see “WRU” or “DBU” on warm-up shirts of players to emphasize these points. For the sake of argument, this will be a look back at Clemson’s history of defensive linemen and their claim of “DLU”. From the “Fridge” to the Power Rangers, Clemson has a rich history of production for not just the Tigers, but in the NFL as well.
It was not the Power Rangers who first put Clemson on the map for the title of “DLU”, rather it was Clemson legends William Perry and Jeff Bryant. Bryant and Perry played for the 1981 championship team and both went on to have lengthy careers in the NFL. The Fridge spent his career with one of the most iconic NFL teams of all time in the 1985 Chicago Bears, who won the Super Bowl in convincing fashion 45-10 over the Patriots. He would also score a touchdown on the sport’s most grand stage.
The next duo that should be recognized for their “DLU” contributions are Da’Quan Bowers and Gaines Adams. While this duo did not win a championship, they both produced at Clemson and in the NFL in significant ways. Bowers is the only Clemson player to win both the Hendricks Award and the Nagurski Award. Those awards are given to the best defensive lineman and player overall respectively. This decade of Clemson football saw defensive production on an unprecedented scale and helped pave the way for more athletes to make their mark on the program.
The years 2011-2015 marked a pivotal turning point in Clemson’s football history. Lineman Shaq Lawson and Vic Beasley both played a huge role in laying the groundwork for where the program is today. Beasley was a two-time consensus All-American and finished with over 30 sacks. Beasley was drafted by the Falcons and won defensive player of the year in the NFL. Beasley and Lawson both took part in monumental games for the program including wins against LSU and Ohio State. Lawson also was a part of the first playoff team in Clemson’s history.
The final and most recognizable group has to be the Power Rangers. Led by Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, and Dexter Lawrence, this group is Clemson’s most successful group in the Tiger’s history. All four are two-time national champions and were all drafted in the NFL with three of the four going in the first round. Some notable accolades include Wilkins and Ferrell holding All-American honors.
Fast forward to the Fall of 2022. Clemson has kept the defensive engine on full throttle with sure-fire NFL players in Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee. Clemson is also loading up for the future with commits in Peter Woods, Vic Burley, Shephiylan Green, and David Ojiegbe. It is surely no surprise that Clemson will be considered “DLU” for 2022 and for the foreseeable future.